homemaker When I was a young mother of four young kids, I worked hard at being a good homemaker. I read books on the subject and followed systems and so forth. I don’t do all those things any more, and am probably not a very good homemaker, but one of the habits I have kept is the New Year “clearing.” I don’t remember which book or system gave me this habit, but I think it’s a good one.

You go through your home with a pen and pad in hand — I used the pretty new notebook Janalisa gave me — and note down everything that needs doing in each room. Everything. From dusting the teapot collection on a high shelf to painting the room to moving furniture to organizing a cupboard, just write it all down.

Then you do it.

The list might take all year to complete, and that’s fine. January is a month for self and February is a month for relationships, in this half-remembered system, so the idea is not to leap in and do your spring cleaning. The idea is to get a list of all the things that need fixing, whether that means changes you should make in order to improve your quality of sleep or decorating that will make time in your home more pleasurable, fixing your kitchen to encourage healthier eating or rearranging your living room to encourage conversation. Then, over the course of the year, you can get all the items on that list crossed off.

It’s part of the New Year looking back and looking forward, and I enjoyed it. I scrubbed the bathrooms and organized the cabinets therein, too, did some grocery shopping and cleaned the kitchen.

I also spent some of my day yesterday knitting and reading in a quiet house — a wonderful luxury. I intend to continue that today. But I think I may also tackle my pantry. Or my office. I need to finish taking down and putting away Christmas decorations, too. And I’ll have to do some work.

My husband had to work yesterday and today, and it is snowing, so I will not be attending church. My sons will be back in a few days and there will be people in the house. I have a bunch of cool new work projects to do this week, plus three meetings, and I must get my class ready. With my house in order, my New Year contemplation completed, and my personal batteries recharged by quiet time, I’ll be ready to enjoy the return to regular life.